Los Ñaupa

January 13th, 2009

They existed in a time before our time, in a world that existed before ours. These beings inhabited the planet long before us and were called the Ñaupa by the indigenous peoples of the central Andes.

Their earth was different from ours. There were no bright days or dark nights, just an ambient glow and a steady temperature. When this began to change and the great Inti, the sun god, brought night and day to the world, the Ñaupa retreated to the tallest mountains to dwell within them.

A beyond-ancient Ñaupa shrine... if the legends are to be believed. (c) INC-CUSCO

A beyond-ancient Ñaupa shrine… if the legends are to be believed. © INC-CUSCO

They became the apus, the mountain spirits to whom the Andean people offered sacrifice and asked for protection.

They say that for a few fleeting minutes during dawn and dusk, the world temporarily resembles its state in ancient times, and the Ñaupa are able to leave the mountains to visit what was once their home.

For this reason, visiting these sacred peaks during this time is not recommended, as contact with these otherworldly beings can bring illness or even cause death.


The image above is of a site near Cusco called Ñaupa Iglesia. Examine this image, then understand that on the wall behind the photographer is a door. A door leading into the centre of the mountain, carved into a flat unnatural cliff-face. I don’t know about you, but the first thing I think of when looking at the above is “How do you turn it on?” and “What do I press to open the door?”.


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